The Prayer of Faith
Prayer is more than words we speak to God. It is a two-way communication between God and His children.
When prayer works as it should, we express the feelings of our hearts in simple words. Heavenly Father typically answers by putting thoughts in our minds accompanied by feelings. He always hears the sincere prayer we offer when we pray with a commitment to obey Him, whatever His answer and whenever it comes.
The Lord makes this promise to all who read and pray about the Book of Mormon:
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
That promise is sure. Millions of people have tested and proved that wonderful promise about prayer by receiving a blessing that has filled their lives with joy and lasting happiness. That promise applies to all our prayers to know the mind and will of God for us. We can apply it whenever we receive counsel from a servant of God who is authorized to give us direction. For instance, we can depend on it when we have listened to a sermon in general conference. We can apply it when we are taught by humble missionaries called of God by the living prophet. It applies as well to the counsel we receive from our bishop or branch president.
For prayer to work in our lives, the rules are simple. We must ask to know what is true by praying to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. We must ask with a sincere heart, which means we must have an honest intent to do whatever God’s answer requires of us. And our real intent must spring from our faith in Jesus Christ.
The investigator who reads the Book of Mormon before being baptized and confirmed may receive both an assurance that the book is true and a witness that Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God. After being confirmed a member of the Church, we can have the Holy Ghost as our companion to confirm other truths. Then, whenever we pray in faith, we can expect that the Holy Ghost will testify to us that Jesus is the Christ, that God the Father lives, and that They love us and all of Heavenly Father’s children.
That is one reason there is a promise in the Book of Mormon that we will have charity in our hearts as the Holy Ghost bears witness to us that Jesus is the Christ: “If a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity” ().
There is a great opportunity to grow spiritually every fast Sunday. Fast Sunday can help us approach the experiences of Alma and the sons of Mosiah, who prayed and fasted to know eternal truth so that they could teach the Lamanites with power, authority, and love (see ).
On fast Sunday we combine prayer and fasting. For the blessing of the poor, we give a generous fast offering to the bishop or the branch president that equals at least the value of the two meals we forego. Our thoughts and our prayers are turned to the Savior and to those He would have us serve by addressing their spiritual and temporal needs.
Our prayers and desires thus come closer to being like the prayers and desires of the Savior as we fast to become more meek, teachable, and loving. And as He did, we pray to know the Father’s will for us and to do it.
Teaching from This Message
President Eyring teaches that prayer and fasting can help us “know eternal truth.” Consider where the testimonies of those you visit may need strengthening and prepare a lesson on that topic. For example, if a person you visit lost a close friend or family member, consider discussing eternal families and life after death. You could offer to fast with those you visit in order to help them gain a testimony of that principle.
Prepare before You Pray
President Eyring reminds us that prayer “is a two-way communication between God and His children.” Taking the time to prepare for our prayers can make that two-way communication possible. You could use your journal to spend a few minutes preparing to pray each day. You could make lists of blessings you want to thank Heavenly Father for, people who need your prayers, and questions you may need answered. Then invite the Spirit by singing a hymn or reading a few verses of scripture. As you pray, pay attention to how the Holy Ghost guides what you should say, and pay attention to your feelings and thoughts (see ). Consider recording your experiences in your journal and reviewing answers you receive. You could also use the activities on pages 95–97 of to help you evaluate your prayers and learn to recognize the Holy Ghost.
How do you know what to say when you pray? You can begin your prayers by saying, “Dear Heavenly Father,” and end them by saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” What you say in the middle is your choice, just like choosing what goes in a sandwich.
Choose the pieces you would like in your sandwich. Write the things you would like to pray for next to them. You can say “I thank Thee” for blessings, talk about your worries, ask for blessings, or pray about questions.
“Let Me Learn to Pray”
Seeking to expose my heart
so afraid to voice thoughts
knowing speaking with Father
who already knows these
while expression is slow
the intent is ever so pure
let me learn to pray truly
understanding he hears me
and thus I’ll hear his answers
expose my heart unto Him!
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